Memo to Roddy White: Please think before you tweet

Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Memo to Roddy White: please stop.  Just stop. Stop. Think. Pause. Think. Then, and only then, tweet out whatever is on your mind.  Until then, please take a hiatus from Twitter, because this is getting ridiculous.

With the Falcons playing in a 4 o’clock game, White had plenty of time to sit around and watch pregame shows.  He obviously didn’t like what he saw on ESPN Sunday Countdown.  White took offense to ESPN’s analysts’ admonishment of 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith who, on Friday, was arrested for his second DUI.  After watching the Countdown crew chide Smith’s bad decisions, White sent out the following tweet.

White is certainly entitled to his own opinion, and lord knows he has plenty of strong ones. The problem is that when he tweets them out, they usually obscure the core issues.

After George Zimmerman was acquitted, White, through Twitter, suggested the case’s jurors, “go home and kill themselves.” He later apologized, but the damage was done. In a heat-of-the-moment tweet, he advocated death and violence to numerous people. Incensed by the death of one young man, White sought the death of others. While he surely didn’t mean it literally, his tweet was still insensitive, incitant, and malicious. Just as one cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war, one cannot condemn and promote death at the same time.

I understand what White meant when he fired off the Aldon Smith tweet. He saw a group of critics acting in a way he perceived hypocritical. Yet, as with the George Zimmerman tweet, White’s response detracts from the main issue.

With Zimmerman, White took notice away from the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin. He proposed an alternative, violent means, which steered focus away from the tragedy of Martin. White came across like a man more concerned with outlaw justice than making a systemic change. The story shifted away from a dead teenager and towards an impartial jury. From there the narrative shifted towards White—and others like him) and away from the solutions of how to prevent more premature deaths.

In regards to Smith, White once again deviates from an important cause. Yes it’s important to keep people honest—that’s what critics and the media are for—but not at the expense of an affliction as severe as alcoholism. In subsequent tweets, White explained that he was not making excuses for Smith, just that the criticism was over the top. As a celebrity, Roddy White could have used his stature to preach against driving under the influence. He could have supported Smith’s health while helping people confront their demons. Instead, White became another negative spinoff of the narrative.

So here we are. For Roddy’s knowledge, I have driven drunk—more times than I like to admit. I have been pulled over and forced to walk the line. Thankfully I never harmed anyone, crashed my vehicle, or went to jail. I also learned the foolish nature of my ways and started using taxis, Uber, or my own two feet. Now I sit here and call out Aldon Smith for his foolishness. It doesn’t make me a hypocrite, as White suggests, but a person with life experience. I, like many others reviewing the situation, recognize the dangerous errors of his ways.

Aldon Smith could’ve ended up like Leonard Little or Donte Stallworth. He luckily only harmed himself and his car. Hopefully he gets help and will put more thought into his future decisions. As for White, well, next time a controversial subject comes across, maybe Roddy will really marinate on his thoughts before putting fingers to keypad.  He can direct a helpful discussion, rather than steer the story towards himself.